Ecclesiastes 11:8 However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.
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The admonition cited in the question is not referring to retention of a past memory, but to consciousness of a future time, after life on earth has ended. Solomon, consistent with his perspective in this book, is urging his readers to make the most of their times on earth, and to be contented and cheerful with their earthly lots, since all opportunity for such activity will be lost after death. While not sharing Solomon's dark perspective regarding the believer's eternal state, Jesus made a similar point in telling His followers that He (and, by extension, they) were to be fully occupied in doing God's work during the day (that is, while it was still possible) "before the night comes, when no one can work" (John 9:4).
The phrase “the days of darkness” refers to the onset of old age (Eccl 12:1-5 "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— 2 before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; 3 when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men stoop, when the grinders cease because they are few, and those looking through the windows grow dim; 4 when the doors to the street are closed and the sound of grinding fades; when people rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; 5 when people are afraid of heights and of dangers in the streets; when the almond tree blossoms and the grasshopper drags itself along and desire no longer is stirred. Then people go to their eternal home and mourners go about the streets.") and the inevitable experience of death (Eccl 11:7-8; 12:6-7) EXB "Soon your life will snap like a silver chain [the silver thread will be snapped] or break like a golden bowl [and the golden bowl will be crushed]. You will be like a broken pitcher at a spring [The jar will be broken by the well] or a broken wheel at a well [and the wheel crushed by the cistern; metaphors of death]". Fanny Crosby, the hymnwriter, put it this way: Some day the silver cord will break, And I no more as now shall sing; But oh, the joy when I shall wake Within the palace of the King! Refrain And I shall see Him face to face, And tell the story—Saved by grace; And I shall see Him face to face, And tell the story—Saved by grace. Elsewhere, “darkness” is a figure of speech (metonymy of association) for death (Job 10:21-22; 17:13; 18:18). --bible.org
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